Where Lisbon has however particularly shone, is when it comes to rating how easy a city is to settle into as an expat, and in this category Lisbon is ranked 7th in the world. The capital also did very well in regards to the cost of living (10th) and the high quality of life (12th).

Lisbon did not fare so well in relation to finance and housing (28th) and was seen as one of the worst cities in the world for expats working life (50th).

The Expat City Ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations, which is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, with 12,420 respondents in 2021. This year, 57 cities around the globe were analysed in the survey, which offers in-depth information about five areas of expat life: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, Finance & Housing, and Local Cost of Living.

A more detailed breakdown of the results showed that Lisbon was ranked as number one for expats feeling at home in the city (80 percent vs 65 percent globally).

The survey found that: “Expats find it easy to get used to the local culture (84 percent vs. 65 percent globally) and describe the local people as generally friendly (80 percent vs. 69 percent globally). “Many people here are warm, good-natured, respectful, friendly, and welcoming,” says a US American expat. And indeed, expats do find it easy to make new friends (62 percent vs. 48 percent globally) and are happy with their social life (68 percent vs. 57 percent globally)”.

Unsurprisingly the survey found that expats are particularly satisfied with the climate (87 percent vs. 66 percent globally) and leisure options (85 percent vs. 72 percent globally). “There is good food, great weather, and plenty to see and do,” said one British expat in the survey. They also feel safe in Lisbon (96% vs. 84% globally) and rate the urban environment positively (81% vs. 71% globally).

Work opportunities

“While Lisbon ranks well in the Local Cost of Living Index (10th), it only lands in 28th place in the Finance & Housing Index: 26 percent are dissatisfied with their financial situation (vs. 19 percent globally), and 33 percent say that their disposable household income is not enough to cover their expenses (vs. 23% globally).

Lastly, the capital ends up in the bottom 10 of the Urban Work Life Index (50th) and expats rate the state of the local economy (40 percent vs. 19 percent globally) and the job security (22 percent vs. 20 percent globally) negatively. They are also unhappy with the local career opportunities (49 percent vs. 33 percent globally) and their job in general (26 percent vs. 16 percent globally). In fact, Lisbon ranks among the bottom 10 for all factors of this index, except for work-life balance (18th).

In 2021, the top 10 cities for expats according to InterNations were Kuala Lumpur (1st), Málaga, Dubai, Sydney, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Prague, Mexico City, Basel, and Madrid (10th).